Lion’s quarterback Luke Collis put on a performance to be remembered as his nine touchdowns pushed the Lions back in the win column (3-5) with a 68-55 road victory over the New York Street (3-5) Saturday night. The nine touchdowns tie a league season high when Orlando Predators quarterback Bryan Hicks threw nine touchdowns vs the Carolina Cobras in May.
Collis would complete 21 of 31 passes for 382 yards, the most passing yards by any quarterback this season, to go along with his nine touchdown passes. Every receiver contributed when carving up the Street’s defense. Paris Mack lead the way with eight receptions for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Sanders also hauled in three touchdowns on six receptions for 111 yards. Sanders had two touchdowns come in a vital fourth quarter, one of the touchdowns on the first play of the drive for a 45-yard bomb, the second longest passing touchdown in the league this season. Bones Bagaunte came up short of the century mark with 98 yards receiving on five catches but played his part by reeling in two touchdowns. DeAndre Brown had one lone reception for 11 yards, but also found pay dirt on the play. Most importantly for the Lions, the offense kept the ball tucked away safe, not giving up any turnovers.
The defense played their part, turning over New York three times. Kyle Griswould would force a fumble and recover one while also adding an interception. Newly acquired cornerback Dominick Sanders got his first interception as a Lions as well as leading the Lions with 4.5 total tackles.
The scoring started early when Collis found Sanders for a 27-yard touchdown. The street would respond when quarterback David Legree scampered in for a 2-yard rushing touchdown. Legree would end the day with seven rushes for 54 yards and one touchdown while completing 20 of 35 passes for 308 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Collis would strike again with Brown for his lone catch and touchdown on the day to end the first quarter up 14-7.
The Lions would score again on a Paris Mack 20-yard touchdown. But the Street answered back when new receiver LJ Castille hauled in a 4-yard touchdown and added on a two-point conversion. In the final minute before half, both teams would trade jabs back and forth, but it was Bones Bagaunte with the final laugh. “Agent Zero” would bring in a 14-yard touchdown and a 40-yard touchdown as the Lions ended the half up 33-23.
The third quarter saw both teams once again trade touchdowns, but this time it was Mack that would cause havoc in the Street’s secondary. Mack would add a 24-yard touchdown and a 38-yard touchdown to his resume as the Lions lead held steady 47-31. Sanders would come alive in the fourth with his 45-yard bomb and brining in a 13-yard touchdown as well. Kam Pettway would seal the deal with three and a half minutes left on a 5-yard touchdown run. Pettway would carry the ball nine times for 34 yards and the lone touchdown run. The 68-55 victory is the most points the Lions have scored this season and gets them back in the win column.
The road stand comes to an end next week when the Lions meet the Massachusetts Pirates (4-4) next Saturday at 7PM in the DCU Center. The Pirates are winners of three straight after knocking off the Street in back to back games and recently defeating the Orlando Predators 45-31 on the road. The Lions and Pirates will be playing to see who will hold third place in the standings as the playoffs start to creep up on the National Arena League. The last time the Pirates loss so happened to be against the Columbus Lions on the road 67-56 when Collis tossed for 345 yards and six touchdowns, a performance that got him NAL Offensive Player of the Week and sent the Pirates to 1-4 on the season.